GUEST POST: Montana ABOTA defends district court judge against unfair attacks by dark money group

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is an organization dedicated to the preservation of a fair and impartial judiciary and the right to trial by jury. Recently, we have seen attacks upon Montana District Judge Dirk Sandefur, who is currently seeking election to a seat on the Supreme Court of Montana.

These attacks attempt to create the impression that Judge Sandefur has given lenient sentences. The fact is, the sentences handed down by Judge Sandefur in each instance were consistent with the recommendations of the prosecuting attorneys.

ABOTA, the American Board of Trial Advocates, is an invitation only organization dedicated to defending the American civil justice system and elevating the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession. ABOTA members are represented equally between both plaintiff and defense lawyers and includes state and federal judges. ABOTA has a long history of responding to unfair attacks on judges who cannot respond for themselves and believes that political and special interest interference in the judicial system is contrary to the American concept of justice.

The Montana Chapter of ABOTA considers this attack on a district judge to be misleading, unwarranted and unfair. As such, it is a threat to the independence of the judiciary and to the rule of law. An independent, fair and impartial judiciary is the bulwark against the whims, wishes and demands of the government and other special interests.

The Montana Chapter of ABOTA stands for respect of our judicial system and the right of trial by jury as we believe such principles are fundamental to preserving our democracy. Our judicial system cannot function without the lawyers, the litigants and the courts treating each other with civility. It is a system upon which the public can have confidence in and accept the outcome of each case.

This should not be considered an endorsement of either candidate seeking election to the Montana Supreme Court. Montana ABOTA does not endorse political candidates nor does Montana ABOTA become involved in political races.

On behalf of Montana ABOTA:

A. Clifford Edwards, Billings
Alexander Blewett, III, Great Falls
Carey E. Matovich, Billings
Dennis P. Conner, Great Falls
Donald L. Harris, Billings
Douglas J. Wold, Polson
James H. Goetz, Bozeman
John E. Bohyer, Missoula
Jon M. Moyers, Billings
L. Randall Bishop, Billings
Kurt M. Jackson, Great Falls
Leonard H. Smith, Billings
Lon J. Dale, Missoula
Maxon R. Davis, Great Falls
Michael D. Cok, Bozeman
Monte D. Beck, Bozeman
Paul R. Haffeman, Great Falls
Randy J. Cox, Missoula Thomas J. Beers,
Missoula William Rossbach, Missoula

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7 Comments on "GUEST POST: Montana ABOTA defends district court judge against unfair attacks by dark money group"

  1. The attacks on Judge Sandefur’s impeccable record are largely funded by the Republican State Leadership Committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other out of State, “dark money” groups whose sole purpose is to hijack the civil justice system, and to buy judicial votes in support of their agenda and special interests. Keep in mind that they’re not spending their money on attacking one of the most respected trial judges in Montana for nothing; they expect bang for their buck. Experience and two different academic studies funded by the American Constitution Society teach that those organizations will get exactly what they pay for. Favorable votes in court cases!

  2. Juras the stooge, willing to go along with it, she knows the score. If she had any good character she wouldn’t be a silent accomplice.

  3. State Supreme Court – Dirk Sandefur
    SANDY SCHMIDT PEPOS·SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2016
    Hello Montana peeps. It is not very often one will find me post about elections as I make it policy to not use my FB to force people on politics. But this is such a different type of race. There truly needs to be some honesty with this race.

    In June of 1996 I got married. In August of 1996 there were federal indictments being handed down in a case of US Government vs. Crop Growers Insurance. I had left their sister company in 1993. Yes that is 3 years! In September of 1996 some people decided to make it their business to lie about the job I did at Prairie Mountain Insurance Agency (the sister company). Those lies led to an investigation by the FBI, US Department of Justice, IRS and every other federal agency you can imagine. I was getting phone calls from everyone and everywhere and very confused – so I had to get a lawyer. In November of 1996 I received my first federal subpoena. (Now mind you I am pregnant at this point and my husband was very confused). These indictments were about the use of company funds for illegal campaign contributions (this is before Citizen’s United – which is another story for another time). The first trial was in New Orleans, LA in December, 1996. The stress was disgusting. Being grilled by US Attorney Ken Starr was overwhelming. I had medical issues while I was down there and just simply wanted to come home and be with my husband and most importantly I wanted to talk to my dad and mom. We thought things were over when I was told in January of 1997 and the attorney’s arrived in Great Falls to deliver the news that I would have to go through another trial and this time in Washington, DC in February of 1997. My doctor was less than happy with this entire situation, but couldn’t argue with a federal subpoena. So 7 weeks before I gave birth to Mathias I was sitting in a court room in Washington, DC testifying on things I didn’t do and watching people lie about my involvement when I was long gone from the employment of Crop Grower’s Insurance/Prairie Mountain Insurance. This was a very black and dark period in my life. The federal subpoena expired May 1, 1997 (so yes on March 23, 1997 when I gave birth to Mathias I was still under a federal subpoena).
    The meaning behind all of this is Ms. Kristen Juras was a part of Crop Growers Insurance. This is not a positive place to be in and the company eventually left Great Falls and so did a lot of jobs when it shuttered. People LIED who worked for Crop Growers and Prairie Mountain. I should have never been involved with any court proceedings since I left in 1993 and the investigation was in 1996 and 1997. Ms. Juras has claimed on the campaign trail that she is proud of the work she did for Crop Growers. Really? People were allowed to LIE and you can be proud of that? Seriously? I wouldn’t be proud of that.
    I urge people to vote what is in the best interest of Montana. I have met Dirk Sandefur and he is a very nice person with the background to tell the truth and do what is best for Montana. Judge Sandefur has represented the people of Montana well and has done what is right all along. He wasn’t involved with a group of people who made a mockery of the truth.
    I have been very disgusted that the lies have been allowed to continue about things that happened. It’s very disgusting! My dad told me after what I went through “Sandy someday the experience you had with people who chose to lie will come back to haunt and it may happen after I am gone, but it will happen as there are consequences for people’s actions.” Never did I think 20 years later this would be in the forefront. Dad was right.
    So please, vote for Judge Dirk Sandefur as he has the right qualifications for the job as a Supreme Court Justice.
    Thank you.

    **** This is a first hand account of the company Juras is so defending on the campaign trail and the things reported are she is proud of what she did for Crop Growers. They were allowed to lie and she wants to be a Justice on the Supreme Court to uphold the truth? People really need to think long and hard about this one.

  4. I had never heard Hillary bad mouth any women. Where do people get this from? Please tell me where I can read about this.

  5. Are there no women in ABOTA? (No, I do not support Juras.)

    • Old Line Democrat | October 11, 2016 5:30 PM at 5:30 PM |

      Carey Matovich is a woman. That list is not the complete membership of ABOTA looks like mostly the Billings members.

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